Does your child's handwriting look like this?
...by Year 3, this is what teachers are expecting to see... words that have clear distinction between whether they sit above or below the line
At this age, handwriting is all about letter size!
Between the age of 7 and 8 years, a child should be fine tuning their handwriting skills.
One key area to improve is letter legibility and this can be achieved by concentrating on letter size. By teaching them about how letters need to sit clearly on the line and have letters strokes that go above or below a line will help.
Let me ask you this, can your child do all of these handwriting skills?
This is what they should be doing by now...
Place spaces between words – has gaps between words that are not too large or too small
Use correct letter size – letters that are tall or go below the line can be clearly seen
Use correct muscle pressure – the pencil marks are neither too light or too dark
Have neat handwriting – all letters and words are easy to read
Enjoy writing – finds this an easy method to communicate ideas
All letters formed correctly – without any reversals or change in direction
Apply grammar rules – using capital letters and full stops
Write using cursive (joined up) writing – write words without taking the pen off the paper
Sit well – with their feet flat on the floor, bottom at the back of a chair and at a desk
Holds the paper – using their non-dominant hand to stop the paper from moving
3 fingered pencil grip (tripod grip) – writes using this grip and does not say their hand hurts when writing
Uses one hand – has a preferred hand dominance
What happens in school at this age?
At school, your child will be learning about a variety of science, history, and geography topics. Topics include forces, magnets and electricity, Tudors and the Tudor life, Ancient Egyptians, Stone/Bronze/Iron Ages, and explorers. In geography, they will be learning about rainforests, Artic/Antarctic and hearing about countries across the world that are different from the UK.
During this time your child's stories will be expected to have more descriptive elements. They should be creating settings, characters, and plots. A child should still be evaluating their own work including their handwriting and they are expected to be using punctuation with limited prompting.
In school, handwriting practice will ONLY be 30 minutes a week 🙁
In Year 3, handwriting practice is often once a week lasting for a maximum of 30 minutes. This is a dramatic drop from the previous school year. It reduces your child's opportunity to spend time mastering essential handwriting skills. They will benefit from extra time at home to tweak and improve their handwriting abilities.
Want to learn more?
Swipe my exact step-by-step plan that will help your child master joined up letters with ease. Follow the sequence of emails over the next 7 days to achieve handwriting success.
Transform your child's handwriting in 7 days
What can you do?
At this age, a child's handwriting needs to develop greater letter legibility. This is so they can use lovely descriptive words to demonstrate their new learning. It is achieved by concentrating on letter size.
In my experience, children who find handwriting difficult become frustrated with themselves as they cannot achieve what others can. This frustration can lead to avoidance strategies e.g. requesting the toilet, needing to sharpen the pencil or asking for a drink.
Here are 3 easy things that you can do at home:
1. Use the cat - A child's writing should have clear ascender and descender letters. Using the example of the letters b and p. The letter b should be on the line with the vertical stroke higher than the main body of text. The letter p is clearly below the line. A cat image can help a child remember this.
2. Use a handwriting worksheet - Mazes and word searches continue to help a child develop pencil control skills. Crosswords can help a child practice reducing their letter size. I also like to use a review checklist, so that the children can self-correct their own work. Here is an example of what I use.
3. Graph paper - Writing on graph paper is helpful as a visual guide for improving letter formation and word spacing.
What to do next?
There are various ways you can help your child.
- You can choose worksheets designed to help them develop their pencil control skills. I create my own and they have been nominated for awards. Yes please, click here!
- Follow my step-by-step 7 day email support called 'Transform by child's writing in 7 days'. It's free 🙂 Fill your details in the grey box above in the 'Want to learn more' section.
- Work with me 1:1 either by Skype or in person. Yes, please, click here to complete the contact form.
*names changed for confidentiality